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High Anxiety 

When: Thu., May 15 2014
Wadjda, the first film shot entirely within Saudi borders by a female writer-director, screens this evening at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque at 6:45 p.m. It plays again tomorrow night at 7. Wadjda, about a rebel girl who competes at Koranic recitation to win money so she can buy a bike, succeeds as a cultural tour of the Saudi female experience. The film shows a striking range of practical “women problems” — anxiety about menstruation, the inconveniences of etiquette around men, the inexhaustible imperative for delicacy — as well as grander and more symbolic social inequalities like polygamy, the absence of women on family trees and absolute romantic and sexual inhibition. The film makes the struggles of a young girl the narrative centerpiece in a matrix of related struggles in the adult world, and is a massive accomplishment given the fact that women are still stoned in Saudi Arabia for things like, you know, driving. (Allard)

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